The “showdown” between the State Legislature, Governor and public school teachers in Wisconsin has lasted over two weeks, with no end in sight. Governor Scott Walker is threatening to lay-off some government employees if the 14 Democratic State Senators don’t return to the capitol in order for the Senate to have a quorum and vote on a State budget. The issues that have created the mass protests by public school teachers relate to collective bargaining for government workers that belong to unions and a proposal that would make these employees pay more for some benefits (specifically, insurance & pension).
Tom Knapp points out, “The problematic part of ‘government worker union’ is ‘government,’ not ‘worker’ or ‘union.’ Any enterprise which is operated by government is going to be decided by politics. Like businesses, unions are market institutions that become corrupt when they resort to political power instead of economic power to achieve their goals.”
Knapp adds, “As the conventional wisdom would have it, collective bargaining between the state and government employees — cops, firefighters and most especially ‘public educators’ — is breaking the government bank by locking the taxpayer into funding healthy wage, and sometimes outrageous benefit and retirement, packages for ‘public servants’.”
There is one glaring question that is not being: “Why is government in the education business anyways?”
In Healing Our World Mary Ruwart writes:
“Early in our country’s history, Americans were considered to be among the most literate people in the world. Schooling was neither compulsory nor free, although private ‘charity’ schools provided education to those too poor to afford formal instruction. Licensing requirements for teachers and schools were almost non-existent…
The diverse education available in the United States greatly pleased the immigrants, who came from societies where their children could not go to a school that taught the values they cherished. Some influential citizens, however, felt that society was disrupted, rather than enriched, by the different perspectives and faiths that the immigrants brought with them. With a uniform system of ‘American’ education, they could mold children into what they perceived as proper citizens. They clamored to increase the aggression of taxation so that public schools wouldn’t need to charge much tuition. Parents would be forced at gunpoint, if necessary to turn over their hard-earned dollars to the public schools. If they were wealthy enough to have any money left, their children could still go to the private school of their choice. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the so-called reformers tempted the American citizenry to use aggression against the poor immigrants, ostensibly to create harmony throughout the land.”
Public schools do NOT exist to educate children, rather these schools exist to mold children into replicas of one another. Ruwart adds, “The real waste is not money, however, but the minds of our children. A poor education means fewer skills with which to create wealth.” Instead of wasting time and tax-payer money by continuing to fund public schools, the Wisconsin Legislature (and the Legislature of the other 49 States & District of Columbia) should instead repeal compulsory education laws and abolish all taxpayer-funded schools. Doing so, will not only save millions of dollars it will also increase the quality of education for everyone.